A photovoltaic array (also called a solar array) is a linked collection of photovoltaic modules, which are in turn made of multiple interconnected solar cells. By their modularity, they are able to be configured to supply most loads.
The cells convert solar energy into direct current electricity via the photovoltaic effect. The power that one module can produce is seldom enough to meet requirements of a home or a business, so the modules are linked together to form an array. Most PV arrays use an inverter to convert the DC power produced by the modules into alternating current that can plug into the existing infrastructure to power lights, motors, and other loads. The modules in a PV array are usually first connected in series to obtain the desired voltage; the individual strings are then connected in parallel to allow the system to produce more current. Solar arrays are typically measured by the peak electrical power they produce, in watts, kilowatts, or even megawatts.
The intensity (or illuminance or irradiance) of light or other linear waves radiating from a point source (energy per unit of area perpendicular to the source) is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source; so an object (of the same size) twice as far away, receives only one-quarter the energy (in the same time period).
For example, the intensity of radiation from the Sun is 9140 watts per square meter at the distance of Mercury (0.387AU); but only 1370 watts per square meter at the distance of Earth (1AU)—a threefold increase in distance results in a ninefold decrease in intensity of radiation.
The inverse-square law can be used only on point source light; a fluorescent lamp is not a point source and therefore one can not use the inverse-square law with a fluorescent lamp, although one can use it for many other light sources like an incandescent light bulb.
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